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86                          BYZANTINE CHURCHES
and died on the spot The historian Socrates regards the event as the act of God, for when the patriarch heard what the heretics intended to do, he retired to the church of S. Irene, and there for many days and nights, with fasting and tears, and with his lips pressed to the altar, implored divine succour in his terrible extremity, £If the opinions of Arius be true/ the patriarch prayed, £let me die ; but if they are false let him be judged.' The tragic end of Arius was considered the answer to that prayer.
Upon the death of Alexander in 343, at the age of ninety-eight, the two parties came into collision in regard to the question of his successor. The deceased prelate had recommended two persons as suitable to fill his place : the presbyter Paul, because of his abilities ; the deacon Macedonius, on account of his age and venerable appearance. The Arians favoured Macedonius, as . more in sympathy with their opinions ; the orthodox, however, carried the election and installed Paul in S. Irene. The defeated party seems to have submitted, but the Emperor Constant!us, a violent Arian, quashed the election, and appointed Eusebius of Nicomedia, a prominent upholder of the views of Arius, bishop of the capital. Upon the death of Eusebius in 346 the theological combatants again seized the opportunity to try their strength. The orthodox recalled Paul ; the Arians consecrated Macedonius. Incensed by these proceedings, Constantius, then at Antioch, ordered I fenn<>i.;enes, the magister militum in Thrace, to proceed to Constantinople and drive Paul from the city. But no sooner did ITermogenes attempt to execute his instructions than the populace rose, burnt his house to the ground, and after uniting him along the streets, killed him. The emperor was furious. He hurried back to Constantinople, banished Paul, and reduced by one-half the amount of free bread daily distributed among the citizens. Nor did he fully reeogni/e Macedonius as bishop. Under these circumstances Paul made his way to Rome, and, having secured the support of the Pope, reappeared in Constantinople as the rightful bishop of the see. But the emperor, again in Syria,"was not to be baffled. More angry than ever, he